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Young Graduate Trainee for Future Radio Frequency Payloads and Remote Sensing Instruments

  • Organization: ESA - European Space Agency
  • Location:
  • Grade: F1 - Young Graduate Trainee - Junior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Communication and Public Information
    • Agriculture and Forestry
    • Meteorology, Geology and Geography
    • Mechanics and Electronics (Engineering)
  • Closing Date: 2020-02-04

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Young Graduate Traineeship Opportunity in the Directorate of Technology, Engineering and Quality.

ESA is an equal opportunity employer, committed to achieving diversity within the workforce and creating an inclusive working environment. Applications from women are encouraged.

Young Graduate Trainee for Future Radio Frequency Payloads and Remote Sensing Instruments

This post is classified F1.


ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands 

Our team and mission

The Radio Frequency Payloads & Technology Division is responsible for RF payloads, instruments and technologies for space and ground applications, including all equipment having an RF space/ground interface and its associated laboratories. It supports the definition, specification and development/procurement of laboratories for ESA projects and technology programmes or external customers.

Within the Division, the Payload Engineering Section’s responsibilities encompass payloads with RF interface for telecommunications and navigation exploiting various technologies (e.g. analogue, digital, optical) including design and performance analysis tools and testing and digital functions. The Section is also responsible for Earth observation and scientific RF active and passive instruments, including design and performance analysis, engineering and testing.

Candidates interested are encouraged to visit the ESA website:

Field(s) of activity

You will have the opportunity to work in one of the following areas, depending on your background:

  • Advanced Remote Sensing Instruments: Design, modeling, analysis and performance assessment of future Earth observation remote-sensing instruments. These include wide-swath synthetic aperture radars, wide-swath radar altimeters and/or scatterometers. You will assess novel instrument architectures and establish performance trade-offs.
  • Advanced Instruments Based on Digital Beamforming: Digital Beamforming (DB) is nowadays a breakthrough functionality for RF instruments and payloads. This activity will focus on analysis of DB architectures and applicability to different types of instruments and applications, such as radar instruments and telecommunications. You will assess novel DB techniques, carry out hands-on work in the lab and prototype novel DB functions and evaluate performance.
  • Flexible Telecommunication Payloads: Design, modeling, analysis and performance assessment of future flexible telecommunication payloads. Future telecommunication payloads will need to generate hundreds to thousands of beams in the field of view with the capability to reconfigure flexibly the power, bandwidth and coverage, to cope with traffic needs. You will assess the performance of novel payload architectures and perform trade-offs between the most suitable architectures.
  • Novel End-to-End Satellite/Payload Testing and Characterisation Techniques: This activity aims to develop and verify new end-to-end payload testing techniques addressing reductions in testing time, cost and complexity compared to traditional testing methods. End-to-end testing techniques are based on analysis of the output signal of the overall satellite/payload without the need to interface with its internal parts, in order to characterise the systems as well as constituting subsystems/units (both in radiative and/or conductive tests). End-to-end characterisation techniques are very appealing for both conventional and advanced payloads based on phased arrays with many elements and digital signal processing functions.
  • RF Digital Equipment for Telecom and/or Remote Sensing Instruments: Design, development, performance evaluation and characterisation of control, data and signal processing units (e.g. central electronics) inside RF payloads/instruments. You will assess the performance of novel signal processing units/architectures and perform trade-offs.
  • Payload Data Processing Techniques: Design, development and performance evaluation of payload data processing techniques, including signal processing, artificial intelligence applications, image processing and payload data selection, compression and encryption.
Technical competencies
Knowledge of relevant technical domains
Relevant experience gained during internships/project work
Breadth of exposure coming from past and/or current research/activities
Knowledge of ESA and its programmes/projects
Behavioural competencies
Self Motivation
Continuous Learning
Cross-Cultural Sensitivity

You should have just completed, or be in the final year of a university course at Master's level (or equivalent) in a technical or scientific discipline, preferably in telecommunications, electronic or microwave engineering.

Additional requirements

Preference will be given to applicants with a background in signal processing and/or radio frequency and digital sub-systems.

Knowledge and/or experience in computer programming (e.g., Matlab) is requested.   

The working languages of the Agency are English and French. A good knowledge of one of these is required. Knowledge of another Member State language would be an asset. 

You should demonstrate good interpersonal skills and the capacity to work both independently and as part of a team.


During the interview your motivation and overall professional perspective/career goals will also be explored.

Other information

For behavioural competencies expected from ESA staff in general, please refer to the ESA Competency Framework.

The closing date for applications is  15 December 2019.

If you require support with your application due to a disability, please email


Please note that applications are only considered from nationals of one of the following States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Nationals from Slovenia, as an Associate Member, or Canada as a Cooperating State, can apply as well as those from Bulgaria, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia as European Cooperating States (ECS).

Priority will first be given to candidates from under-represented Member States.

In accordance with the European Space Agency’s security procedures and as part of the selection process, successful candidates will be required to undergo basic screening before appointment

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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